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10 Year Old in difficult situation

Welshjellybaby Community member Posts: 2 Listener
Hey there, Im hoping someone may have some advice. 

Were currently looking after my 10 year old Step-Daughter due to a difficult situation at her Mum's home. She is almost 11 and they are not sure of her diagnosis but have labelled it from birth as a form of Cerebal Palsy. We usually have her to stay every other weekend and for 2 afternoon sessions during the week (we both work full time). She has been with us for 3 weeks now and whilst she normally responds to the more structured approach to parenting I have (She has daddy wrapped so far around her finger we seem to be good cop/bad cop) she has started to react against me. She plays Dad up, whining or pulling out her feeding mickey tube until she gets what she wants, unfortunately her disability has been an excuse for bad behaviour and she has few boundaries at home.  I usuallly have no difficulty encouraging her to do more herself, planning activites and keeping her active but over the last 3 days what ever I say, whether positive or negative, to her or not she responds "no" and then calls me an idiot.

When this doesnt get a rise from me she pokes her tongue out or sticks her finger up at me. I know that doesnt sound like much but when its everytime I open my mouth for hours at a time it starts to grate. Im still working 12 hour shifts in a demanding job and she doesnt sleep during the night, waking 3 or 4 times and calling out for Dad. If Dad stays up she is up twice that and sleeps better if she knows I am nearby as I wont try and pacify her to sleep (ie bribing with treats or endless stories). Im exhausted and struggling not to bite back at her behaviour. Im at the point of ignoring her behaviour now but losing interest in trying positive steps as it meets with the same reaction. 
She will be staying for the next 8 weeks or so and I recognise that she is probably frustrated at being out of her own environment and missing her Mum and struggling with Christmas being over as she loves it so much. I just dont know what to do to help my partner as she wont even play with me now without behaving this way. 

Any advice would be appreciated


  • steve51
    steve51 Community member Posts: 7,147 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Welshjellybaby

    Good Evening & Welcome my Friend.

    I’m sorry to hear about your current situation.

    We have got some info around “CP”

    (Would that help)

    There is also many members with “CP”

    (Where you can find help/support)

    There is also a ASD Advisor.

    (You may also find her helpful)

    Please please let me know if any of those would help??? 
  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,665 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Welshjellybaby

    We are just changing over our parenting advisor at the minute, we should have our new one set up this week and so I will move your post when they start.

    Im a mum of three and though I am no expert, I can share my thoughts.

    She must be feeling very unsettled at the minute and needs someone to rally against and unfortunately that is you right now.  Perhaps she is pushing you away as she expects you not to love and care for her? This is no fault of yours but as the 'stepparent' you are the obvious target.  

    I honestly believe that positive reinforcement is the way forward, lots of love, lots of care, lots of attention.  My child went through a stage of ignoring me, being mean, shouting.  I responded with "I know you are angry, but I love you"

    It's hard to keep being mean to someone who doesnt react!! Could you keep shouting at someone who was smiling and saying they love you?

    It's also important that you and your partner are a team and on the same page, kids have an innate sense of weakness! If my kids thought that dad would say yes when I say no then they would definitely use that!!

    I think it is also really important that her dad is the lead on this, that she sees that her dad is on board and you are the support.

    It must be a really tough time for you all at the moment, parenting is stressful and sometimes can be heartbreaking, stay strong, you obviously care about making this a happy situation and for that she is luck to have you.

    Best of luck and let us know how you get on.

    Senior online community officer
  • Welshjellybaby
    Welshjellybaby Community member Posts: 2 Listener
    Hi Sam, thanks for your advice. Its given me a new perspective. Things have settled in the last few days and weve had some respite. Its also helping that my stepdaughter is back at school. 

    Hi Steve, thanks for the response. Some information on Cerebal Palsy may be useful. She is going to be part of project 1000 (I think thats what is is) for the gene project. Theyre hoping it will give more insight into her behaviours etc. 

    I have asked the case manager at her school to try and find a parenting course that we can both attend, ive done one in the past but think Sam is right, we need to be singing off the same song sheet. 

    I am really greatful for the advice given. 
  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,665 Disability Gamechanger
    Im pleased to hear this @Welshjellybaby :)
    Senior online community officer
  • shirleygreen
    shirleygreen Community member Posts: 10 Listener
    I fostered a little girl with lots of physical and learning issues and any little upset to her routine (which often seemed trivial to us) was upsetting to her. The most important thing was consistency and I agree that her daddy needs to take the lead and support you too. It is hard enough being a step parent. :-) 

  • ParentingAdvisorVikki
    ParentingAdvisorVikki Community member Posts: 45 Connected
    Hi @Welshjellybaby - Sorry for my delay in replying. 

    Im glad you've had some respite and things are improving. 

    If things become strained again, it may be worth sitting together as a family, and laying down the rules because the rules being there full time will be radically different to the ones for the weekend and flying visits. It will be best to lead this with questions like "what do you think is best behaviour at meal times", "what would you like to happen when you come home from school", "what is a good bed time routine". This will let you gauge how she views your rules, and what she thins is acceptable behaviour, then you can bargain or meet in the middle. 

    I hope this is a start.

    How are you getting on now?
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